Monday, July 09, 2007

What a Shame:

This man preaches the truth -- and the truth is no loving God could send anyone to Hell for eternity -- and he loses his Congregation. This Friday the 13, 20/20 will have a special that features his story.

I might qualify these remarks with it depends on what the nature of Hell would be. If it's a place where people are tortured, there is no possible way a good God would do such a thing. If it's a place where people voluntarily choose to go because they are happier not in God's presence, then the concept isn't as unjust. But then, Hell is simply a place where you can feel comforted by your fellow unsaved family members, get to play pool with your buddies and engage in all sorts of enjoyable "un-godly" sins which wouldn't be permitted in Heaven (maybe that's why people would choose to go there).

Here Pearson described his epiphany that Hell could not exist outside of Earth, because it is right here on Earth:

There was a news story on about the refugee crisis in Rwanda.

Pearson: And you saw these African people—mostly women and children walking slowly back trying to come home. There was no light or life in their eyes. It was a horrible thing for me to see. Swollen bellies and skeletal bodies, emaciated... and then the babies looking at the mom and the mama looking out in space. It was sad. And I’m sitting there with my little fat-cheeked baby and my plateful of food, watching my big screen TV. A man of God, a preacher of the Gospel, and Evangelist, and I’m looking at those people assuming that they’re probably Muslim and going to Hell. “’Cause God wouldn’t do that to Christians,” I’m thinking...

Morrison: They deserve hell.

Pearson: They deserved hell.

And then, right at that moment, Carlton had his revelation.

Pearson: And I said, “God I don’t know how you’re gonna call yourself a loving God and allow those people to suffer so much and then just suck them into hell.” And I believe it was the Spirit of God in me saying, “Is that what you think we’re doing?”

Morrison: You heard this voice.

Pearson: Yes, sir. And I said, “That’s what I’ve been taught”

He talked back, he says, at that voice in his head.

Pearson: “God, I can’t I can’t save the whole world.” And that’s when I heard that voice say, “Precisely. That’s what we did. And if you’d tell them that they are redeemed, you wouldn’t create those kinds of problems. Can’t you see they’re already in Hell?”

Clear as a bell, says Carlton, he heard god telling him to preach this new message that hell is a place in life, and that after death. Everybody is redeemed. Everybody.

Pearson: I immediately started thinking about my grandparents. “Well, maybe they’re not in Hell. Maybe if they’re already saved, if the cross and Christ and all that stuff really happened and is really spiritual—which I believe it is—then—if He came to save the world, then the world is saved unless he’s a failure.”

This was powerful stuff. Though dangerous too.

I wonder whether anyone really believes a loving God would send someone to a Hell that is worse than what those Rwandans suffer. I couldn't imagine believing in such cosmic sadism. And no -- no one deserves eternity in that. I may deserve punishment for my sins. For instance, you lie to your parents when you are young, they send you to your room for the day with no TV or video games -- proportionate punishment that fits the crime. You don't lock your children in the dark basement for a year for lying to you. And the concept of Hell is infinitely more unjust.

It is as unbelievable as a God who would send hijackers to crash their planes into the WTC and reward them with virgins. The scary thing is millions of Muslims do believe in such.

Re the whole Trinity/Unity debate of the Founding about which I often write. I don't find the Trinity so unbelievable. If God exists in the first place, the Trinity isn't such a stretch in logic. But like the Founding era-univeralists (our key unitarian Founders, and some Trinitarians like John Murray and Benjamin Rush), I do find the concept of eternal damnation as unbelievable as Jefferson found the Trinity.

The concept of Eternal Damnation certainly is, in my mind, one of the worst "corruptions of Christianity."


Jim Babka said...

I didn't even get a Hat Tip for this post! LOL. Good post Jon.

Jonathan said...